Frances Ive, the author of Finding Jo, took some time out to have a chat with Beauty and Lace.
Get to know Frances in this interview.
Can you tell us about Finding Jo?
Finding Jo is the story of a young woman’s quest for peace of mind and a need to be herself. It
is a heartwarming and uplifting journey that takes the reader to the snow-capped mountains of
At breaking point Jo deserts her dysfunctional family and possessive boyfriend without telling a
soul, making an uncharacteristic escape. She travels via Delhi to the Jasanghari retreat, a
former palace nestled in the stunning Himalayas. Ensconced in this peaceful environment, she
develops new friendships and skills, and has time for introspection and discussion.
As she starts to unravel the turmoil that has overwhelmed her, Jo begins to see glimpses of the
peace of mind and inspiration that has eluded her. All that changes when a visit from a family
member brings rows and tensions, and a love triangle develops around her. Her new-found
equilibrium is tested to the limit.
Finding Jo focuses on relationships between families, lovers and friends, and the resentment
and long-held grievances that threaten to destroy them. Her quest for a deeper purpose in life
acts as a catalyst to her family, indicating that willingness to change and grow enables people to
What inspires you?
My first novel came about as a result of a half day Write Your Novel course and a sound healing
weekend. I have learnt over the years that people can change and grow because it happened
to me, and that inspired me to write Finding Jo.
I am very keen to write uplifting books as I feel that there is enough grimness in the world at present.
What does your schedule look like when you’re writing?
I can only write when I’m really in the mood, so I might spend hours writing and then some days
do none. I used to be a journalist and found that in the right frame of mind I could get it right
much quicker than when I forced myself.
I did have to work to deadlines though, so I made myself put something down on paper and then edit it several times. I now find that doing some yoga is good for keeping me calm and making me feel creative, so I need to find space for it every day if possible.
I also teach English as a Foreign Language which creates a good balance as it’s more straightforward than publishing.
What is your favourite part of the publishing process?
I suppose it’s the marketing because I have a background in PR. I like finding different ways of
promoting my books. I think it’s very tough getting a book out there so you have to believe in it
and know that people will enjoy reading it.
Who is your target audience?
For Finding Jo it is definitely women who like contemporary novels. My books are very
relationship orientated, which is much more attractive to women than men. I feel that Finding Jo
is equally appealing to the 30 somethings (the same age as the protagonist Jo) as it is to those
over 60, and all ages in between.
If you could invite any three people for dinner, whom would you invite?
Paul McCartney, because I used to adore him and I think he’s a musical genius; Barack Obama,
who must be one of the wisest guys in the world; and the Dalai Lama, who always seems to be
laughing when he’s not saying something incredibly honest and insightful.
Who is your favourite author?
It used to be Thomas Hardy and I read his books many times, but now I find them too sad and
depressing and look for more uplifting novels. I enjoy Joanna Trollope’s books as they are about
everyday people in difficult situations. My latest favourite book is Where the Crawdads Sing by
What are you currently reading?
Sorrow & Bliss, Meg Mason
Where can our readers follow you?
I am on three of the main social media sites and have a website about my writing, Fivewrite. For
15 years I have run a health website, Healthy Soul, but I do much less health writing now.
What is next for Frances Ive?
I have some more books on my computer as I wrote more prolifically in the past. I want to
publish those at some time, but one at a time is enough. I have another novel out at the
moment, Brown Eyes, which involves a marriage crisis. The brown eyes belong to the family
Labrador, Benji, who despairs at the behaviour of his beloved humans. The next one to come out, possibly next year, will be a mixture of fact and fiction about a black rescue cat who lives with us!
I am a mother of four beautiful children. I can’t leave a book unfinished which equals a lot of late nights! When I’m not reading you can find me in the garden, or helping out at Beauty and Lace.